Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: The Lost Wife

The Lost Wife
By Alyson Richman
Publication date: September 6, 2011

My review:

On the day of his grandson's wedding, Josef Kohn meets a ghost from his past-his first love, Lenka Maizel, who he believed had died during the Holocaust. Lenka too believed that Josef had been killed and both had moved on with their lives and married others. The Lost Wife tells the story of their brief but passionate love and the events of the difficult years between till they are reunited again. 

Lenka and Josef are young when they meet and within just a few short years they fall in love and get married during a very turbulent time. They are separated right after their marriage when Josef and his family are able to flee Prague but Lenka's family cannot. Lenka makes the difficult decision to remain behind with her parents and sister, hoping Josef will be able to get papers for them once he is free.

The story is told from Lenka's perspective as a young woman and Josef's perspective as an elderly man looking back on his life. Lenka is a character I cared about and I liked Josef but felt more detachment towards his character perhaps because of the way his part of the story is told. The sections covering Lenka's life in the Terezin ghetto are particularly detailed and horrific. The author incorporates real historic figures into the story, especially the artists of Terezin. The importance of art is a theme carried out throughout the novel to great effect.

The Lost Wife is in some ways a romantic story but perhaps most importantly it is a story of survival and it examines the idea of what it means to love. 

Readalikes: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff


  1. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this one or not, but I think I have to now! Between Shades of Gray and Sarah's Key are two of my favorites! Thanks for the great review!

  2. Oohh this sounds like I would like this one. I like family-love themes, mixed in with a little bit of history too. Haha.

  3. The way the POV is sounds fascinating! I'll check it out, especially if it's anything like BSoG :)

  4. This sounds like I book I need to take a look at! Your review made it sound interesting, but then by comparing it to Sarah's Key, which I loved, wrapped it up for me!


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